FAYETTEVILLE — There was some suspense for fans with a trio of four-star recruits on Wednesday, but Sam Pittman and his staff knew what they had early Wednesday.
Pittman and the Hogs added Missouri City (Texas) Fort Bend Marshall quarterback Malik Hornsby and two offensive linemen, Memphis (Texas) University’s Marcus Henderson and St. Louis (Mo.) Trinity Catholic’s Jalen St. John on Wednesday. Henderson went public around 9:30 a.m., St. John 1:30 p.m. and then Hornsby on ESPNU at 2:30.
“I think the thing I like most about this group is they want to be a part of Arkansas,” Pittman said. “Now you are going to say, ‘Well, we know that. They signed with Arkansas. But by 7:47 this morning we had all 23 scholarships signed. And I know that out of that 23 remaining we had guys that were in here before, obviously, at midterm. But the remaining scholarships that we had, the kids who signed today, had them signed at 7:47. And I think that shows you that they want to be here. That they are excited about being here.”
All three had multiple offers from several major colleges. Henderson, 6-5, 300, had it narrowed to Arkansas and Ole Miss. Hornsby, 6-2, 175, chose Arkansas over Baylor, North Carolina, Purdue and Texas A&M. St. John, 6-5, 310, chose the Hogs over Missouri and Florida State.
Arkansas added 12 new recruits in all on Wednesday. They go with the 11 from the early period to have 23 prospects so far. Arkansas is still in the mix for Clemson defensive tackle transfer Xavier Kelly, 6-4, 305, who visited this past weekend. Pittman talked about what [positions the two remaining scholarships could be used. Obviously he couldn’t comment on Kelly who if he signed then it would leave just one spot.
“Well, It’s hard to say,” Pittman said. ” We’d obviously like to have another tight end on the team. We’d take a WR, we’d take a RB. But we’re not going to take guy just because we can move up in the recruiting rankings. It’s going to be somebody to be somebody to come help us, especially if it’s an older guy. We wouldn’t take a guy we didn’t think could come in here and contribute fast.”
Arkansas added Flower Mound (Texas) Marcus three-star tight end Collin Sutherland, 6-5, 225, on Wednesday. He was offered on Tuesday and committed immediately. He switched over from UNLV. Florida State was among his offers. That gives Arkansas three scholarship tight ends.
“Collin Sutherland was a kid we knew about, obviously I knew about at Georgia,” Pittman said. “But his brother, I recruited here for a couple of years. So I knew the family. I knew the young Collin, but I didn’t know this guy, the guy that’s rocked up. He was just a kid when I was here the first time recruiting. He’s very physical, runs good routes. We liked him obviously or we wouldn’t have taken him here, even though it was late.”
With just three tight ends on scholarship could someone on the team move to that position?
“Is there a possibility we might move some guys?,” Pittman said. “I don’t know. We think the number of tight ends should be five and we have three, so something’s gotta give there. We either need to get another guy in there in recruiting because we have a couple of scholarships left, or certainly we’ll have to explore the opportunity of maybe moving some guys.”
Arkansas will get a boost from Bentonville West preferred walk-on tight end Jonas Higson, 6-2, 220. As a senior, he played both running back and linebacker. In nine games, Higson rushed 24 times for 115 yards and three touchdowns while also catching 20 passes for 327 yards and three more touchdowns. On defense, Higson had 59 tackles, 39 solo, nine for loss, four sacks, two interceptions and four pass breakups.